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December 19, 2011

Party Politics

by thenattyurbanite

The office party is honestly a pulsating HR disaster. Arch nemeses + surly & bitter coworkers + a handful of interns – spouses & significant others + alcohol + unrequited love/intense crushes – any sense of propriety = drama. Don’t be the person who has to be sending apologetic emails the next day whilst praying that you aren’t called in for a ‘chat’ and made to watch the harassment video, again.

As prudish as it sounds, your office party isn’t really where you want to let loose and go wild. Well, maybe you can but c’mon, do you really don’t think that your VP won’t remember your slurred diatribe about the one-ply toilet paper on your floor?

I have a list of rules guidelines of how to successfully navigate your office party without incurring embarrassment.

  1. Take cues from your boss. If he/she is still in work mode and keeping the conversation very beige, take a hint and don’t stir the pot. Don’t start talking about your childhood and the horrible date that you had last week. Keep it amicable but professional.
  2. The two drink maximum. If you can really hold your alcohol, the drink maximum is on a sliding scale. I can have five drinks before I start getting really friendly. And believe me I’m not usually. Don’t allow your superiors to see you getting all lushy and when you start feeling tipsy, stop drinking and take the party elsewhere.
  3. The fake teetotaler. Depending on the company that I’m in, I oftentimes use this trick. I visibly have two glasses of fizzy water and then switch to vodka or gin and ask the bartender to serve it to me in the same water glass. To pull this off effectively, restraint in key. Have one or two drinks less that the your ‘maximum’. It shows that you’re in control or hardcore straight edge.
  4. Leave situations at the door. It’s a festive occasion, do not engage your nemesis. Stand in your corner across the room and give intermittent stank-eye, you know just to let him/her know that you’re feeling merry but not gonna sweep ‘this’ under the mat.
  5. Promotion and raise, what promotion and raise? The party is not the turf on which you want to bat for a raise or promotion. Just because your boss’ icy personality has thawed some, does not give you license to start talking serious business. You can plant the seed by saying “come January I’d like for us to spend sometime discussing how I could contribute more to the organization”. That is all.
  6. Don’t eat where you… Do I really need to discuss how bad it is to do an office hook-up? If your company is 1500 people strong, maybe take the chance. But, if your office occupies one or two floors, don’t.
  7. Be polite, kind and gracious. Whatever the venue, on-site or at a hotel, always be polite to the serving staff. You don’t want to have people going around saying “the people from Blue Crystal Energy are a mean/tight-fisted/overly demanding bunch.” Tip the bartenders and say thanks to the poor girl whose job it is to tote around that oversized platter of coconut shrimp.
  8. Leave before it all ends. This is not the place to put into effect the “I don’t stop dancing until the DJ stops spinning” rule.
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